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Is Windows 98 upgrade worthwhile?

By JOHN TORRO

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 28, 2000


Q: When I bought my computer last year, it had Windows 98 first edition. I have an upgrade CD with the second edition on it. Is it worthwhile to upgrade? If I do, will my programs work the same? Does someone have a list of fixes/upgrades that I could look at to see what advantages I would have after upgrading? If the electricity goes off during an upgrade, what would happen to my system? Finally, how much more hard drive space will second edition take up compared with the original version?

A: A list of additions/improvements in Windows 98 SE can be found at www.microsoft.com/windows98/guide/Win98/MoreInfo/SEFactSheet.asp. Additional disk space required can range from 140 to 310 megabytes depending on which options are selected. The Windows 98 SE setup process automatically will restart if your system goes down for some reason in the middle of the upgrade.

Problems from old printer

Q: When I boot up my PC using Windows 98, I get the following message: "Cannot find a device file that may be needed to run Windows or a Windows application. The Windows registry or System.ini file refers to this device file, but the file no longer exists. C:\windows\system\vmm32\enable.vxd." What can I do to correct this? This problem occurred after my neighbor tried to correct my printing problem. My Canon Multipass 3500 icon freezes my PC at startup. We removed it from startup and the PC can be used until we go to print. Once we try to print my PC freezes. Canon told me my old Lexmark seems to be taking over the port. The Lexmark has been deleted from my files.

A: The missing device file message refers to the Windows Accessibility driver, or Enable.vxd. The following should solve the problem:

1. In Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs.

2. Click the Windows Set-up tab.

3. Click the Accessibility Options check box to clear it.

4. Click OK and restart the computer when requested.

For your printing problems, make sure your old Lexmark is not showing as being present on your system (delete it from the Printers folder). If you have done this, make sure you have the current driver version for your Canon printer installed. If not, remove the old drivers and reinstall. If you have the latest drivers, remove the printer and reinstall again. Also check the printer by replacing the parallel cable with a working cable from another system.

AC on or off?

Q: This is our first summer with a computer in the house. Previously, each day before we left for work we turned off the air conditioning and then turned it back on when we came home at the end of the day to save on our electric bill. Will it harm our computer to do this?

A: More than the heat, it's the humidity that is a problem with electronics. As long as the temperature is not exceeding 90 degrees your PC should be safe. Monitors are more susceptible to problems in these conditions and would be the first component to show signs of damage.

Running ScanDisk

Q: I am unable to use ScanDisk or defragment my computer in Windows 98. I am able to use ScanDisk in DOS mode, but not defrag.

A: Make sure you disable all antivirus programs and screen savers before doing either.

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